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Full text of "My country and my people"

STORY   OF   THE   SINO-JAPANESE   WAR       35!
fighter. Japan's open declared hostility affected him just as a Persian cat is affected by having its coat stroked backwards. The second and more important effect was that the Japanese denunciation of Chiang Kaishek at once absolved him in the eyes of the Chinese people from all guilt and suspicion of being pro-Japanese. The Chinese people began to flock around him as their national leader as they never had done before. The Chinese and the Japanese had been working at cross-purposes for so long that the Chinese instinctively sensed that what the Japanese said was good for China was bad for China, and what the Japanese said was bad for China was good for China. When, therefore, the Japanese announced they regarded Chiang Kaishek as the enemy of the Chinese people, the Chinese people felt he must be their saviour. In simpler terms, if the Japanese thought Chiang was a bad man, that was proof conclusive in Chinese eyes that he was a good man. If he was not good for China, the Japanese would not try to "destroy" him. This pronouncement of several prominent Japanese militarists in the summer of 1935 convinced the Chinese people that Chiang was preparing for resistance in a way that no statement from Chiang himself could have done, and the critics of Chiang began to change their opinion of the man and rally to his support.
A year before this, back in the summer of 1934, up in Kuling where I was writing this book, I had heard rumours of Chiang's preparations for armed resistance, and had received these rumours with a great deal of scepticism. Near Kuling in Lushan, there was at this time a military training summer camp where the commissioned officers from all parts of China were called to receive direct political training by the Generalissimo himself. Throughout the summer, standing beneath the hot sun, the Generalissimo lectured them for hours on end, on the necessity for resistance, the inequality of equipment and the preparations for national defence. The officers all went back to their provincial armies with their hearts won over to Chiang, and, I thought, their allegiance to their direct superiors weakened. But outside these talks^ at the military officers' camp, which were generally kept secret, I had seen no concrete signs of the intention for resistance, and my impression